Wednesday, November 15, 2017

5 Lung Cancer Symptoms Non-Smokers Shouldn't Ignore

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month and while it’s easy to believe that only

smokers need to worry about lung cancer, this isn’t the case. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 Americans who die from lung cancer have never smoked a day in their life. Pollution and secondhand smoke to asbestos and radon exposure can cause non-smokers to develop lung cancer.

So, whether you have a history of smoking or not, there are certain warning signs that you should watch for. While some of these symptoms aren’t unique to only lung cancer, if you notice one or more affecting you, it may be time to see an expert.

1. Lingering cough

Most people who have lung cancer experience a persistent cough, regardless of their smoking history. If you are occasionally coughing up blood or thick, rust-colored mucus, or if your cough has lingered for over a month, these may be warning signs.

2. Chronic infections

Recurring bronchitis or other lung infections could be a sign of cancer. While occasional illness is normal and often the result of a virus, if you find that your frequency of illness continues rising, you may be due for a lung cancer screening.

3. Unplanned weight loss

Any type of cancer can cause the body to make proteins that lead to weight loss. Advanced tumors can also cause a drastic decline in appetite. If you notice that you’re losing weight without a change in your diet or increased exercise, this may be cause for concern.

4. Bone and joint pain

As cancer spreads throughout the body, deep aching in the bones or joints can be a common side effect. Increased back and hip pain are the most commonly reported areas impacted.

5. Overwhelming fatigue and weakness

This sort of fatigue goes well beyond feeling tired at the end of a busy day. Often, cancer patients report that all they can think about is crawling into bed and no amount of sleep seems to help. It is also common to feel muscle aches and weakness in the hips, shoulders, arms and legs.

Lung cancer is nothing to mess around with.

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death each year in both men and women. Early diagnosis is the most important factor in overcoming this devastating illness. Gwinnett Medical Center strives to continue educating the public and promoting early diagnosis by encouraging people who are at risk to get screened. To determine if you or someone you love qualifies for a lung cancer screening, visit